*Dear Diary is a series in which our writers invite us into their journey of self discovery.
The “My natural hair journey” Diary series is written by Stacey Mac Donald from the island Curaçao who is pursuing her PhD in the Netherlands.
Like many curly haired girls, I have had ‘imposed hair issues’ for as long as I can remember. Growing up my mother always told me I had unmanageable, dry hair and from a relatively young age, I started using relaxers on my hair. Not that those worked completely, but they did cause their damage. I never straightened my hair completely, because I did want to keep my curls. I loved my curls, but they had to be “manageable” like my mom said.
At some point, I got a different treatment through the hairdresser of my sister who already lived at the Netherlands at the time. Can you imagine? I actually went to the Netherlands (I was still living on Curacao at the time) to get my hair done. Can anyone say: desperate?! She is a good hairdresser I must say, and really knows how to (Chemically) treat hair while keeping it as healthy as possible. That is when I did my first big chop, only to continue treating it with a ‘different’ kind of relaxer that would work better for my hair. I admit, my curls were very pretty but I had to repeat the treatment every two to three months for them to stay pretty. At some point, I wasn’t really happy with the treatment anymore. I disliked the fact my hair was always greasy, my mom kept telling at times my hair was so dry and that I needed to do something with it. She also complains about her own hair, so it’s not just her being mean to me or anything. And she was right too, my hair tended to get really dry all the time, which in hindsight has a lot to do with the chemical treatments.
There were many times I thought about just cutting it all off and stop treating it all together. However, by now I was primed to believe that my natural hair was ugly and bad and dry and not manageable. That was until the natural hair movement started growing. I’ve become more and more intrigued about figuring out what my natural hair with the proper care would actually look like. However, despite my curiosity, I have been dead scared to actually stop treating it, do the big chop and start over. I would delay my visit to the hairdresser, only to go back again and treat it with the relaxer.
Last year, while I was in Bonaire for fieldwork, however, my hair grew and damaged a lot. It was a big hot mess. My fieldwork trip ended right before the holidays and I HAD to do something with my hair. I mean, nobody wants to look like a crazy person during the holidays?! Especially not on a small island where everybody knows everybody and you keep running into each other (I was spending my holidays back home on Curacao). Being in Curacao, I was not able to go to my hairdresser in the Netherlands and I was going crazy. My mom eventually took me to her hairdresser who convinced me to do a keratin treatment promising it would be GREAT for my hair and that I would look beautiful. LIES. Big fat LIES. Well I mean, having my hair straight for a while was nice and it did look pretty, but it wasn’t me. It did not fit my lifestyle and it wrecked my hair. Once I was back in the Netherlands I went back to my trusted hairdresser here and told her I was fed up with all the treatments. She told me I should’ve never done the keratin treatment and that we would have to start over. I knew, however, that she would just continue to treat my hair with a relaxer of some sort.
That’s when I made a decision. I would be going back: I would once and for all go on the journey to find my own natural hair. The past couple of months, I have been growing out my hair and I started following the CG-method. This has been incredibly overwhelming and frustrating, but I find support in all the stories and information shared online about girls taking care of their natural curls, doing the big chop and sticking through the growth.
In April of this year, I got the first chop – making the transition to growing out my natural hair and getting rid of the damaged, treated hair. Coming *Saturday I have an appointment to finally go for my BIG CHOP. As the date is nearing, I am getting more and more nervous and excited. I am so scared that I will not be happy or not feel pretty with the short hair (it is going to be suuuper duper short), but also so curious to finally find out what my own hair looks like.
Stay tuned for Stacey’s big chop and new hair reveal!
*This piece was written earlier on in the year